Vitamin A is Good for Hair Growth, But Avoid Too Much - TELETIES

Vitamin A is Good for Hair Growth, But Avoid Too Much

Vitamin A helps regulate the hair growth cycle making it a crucial nutrient that’s good for hair growth because it helps your body produce sebum. Sebum is the natural hair oil used to protect your hair strands. 

Vitamin A is also important to maintain healthy vision, proper immune function, and is necessary for cellular growth and helping your body with differentiation (e.g. a liver cell differentiated from a kidney cell).

A deficiency in vitamin A causes a condition called follicular hyperkeratosis where excess keratin plugs your hair follicles causing them to get filled with sebum.  This filling creates a white bump on the skin that prevents the hair from growing out of the skin. And long-term deficiency in vitamin A can lead to health issues like respiratory diseases, infections such as measles, and can also cause you to develop anemia (i.e. an iron deficiency), which leads to more hair loss among other issues.

But before you begin supplementing your intake, its important to know there are two types of Vitamin A.  Preformed vitamin A which you get from food like fish, liver, and eggs, and provitamin A carotenoids that can be found in fruits, veggies, and supplements (this is most commonly called beta-carotene). 

Both types of vitamin A can benefit you, but one may be better for you based on your health needs, so talk to your doctor about which one to choose when you begin to supplement.

And be careful not to overdue it since high doses of vitamin A can be toxic, causing symptoms like severe headaches, dry skin, enlarged liver, and can result in both hair loss and reduced sebaceous gland function according to this article on research gate that was researched by Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Texas Woman’s University. 

And without sufficient sebum your hair becomes dry and brittle, leading to premature breakage and excess thinning. You can also get chronic toxicity from prolonged ingestion of excess vitamin A, and this can lead to serious skin irritation and even defects in a fetus if you’re pregnant. 

Interesting fact:  If you eat too much beta-carotene, your skin might turn a shade of yellow-orange, but this is harmless and goes away when you eat less of it.  

Curious about how much Vitamin A you need?  Here’s the recommendations from the National Institute of Health page linked in the interesting fact above.

Life Stage

Recommended Amount

Birth to 6 months

400 mcg 

Infants 7–12 months

500 mcg 

Children 1–3 years

300 mcg 

Children 4–8 years

400 mcg 

Children 9–13 years

600 mcg 

Teen males 14–18 years

900 mcg 

Teen females 14–18 years

700 mcg 

Adult males

900 mcg 

Adult females

700 mcg 

Pregnant teens

750 mcg 

Pregnant adults

770 mcg 

Breastfeeding teens

1,200 mcg 

Breastfeeding adults

1,300 mcg 

And because vitamin A can cause toxicity at high levels, the table below shows the upper limits for daily intake. This is for preformed vitamin A that comes from fish, liver, eggs, and not for provitamin A (beta carotene) from fruits, supplements, etc.


Upper Limit

Birth to 12 months

600 mcg

Children 1–3 years

600 mcg

Children 4–8 years

900 mcg

Children 9–13 years

1,700 mcg

Teens 14–18 years

2,800 mcg

Adults 19 years and older

3,000 mcg

The table below is from MedicalNewsToday and shows the top 10 foods with vitamin A.  Just be careful not to eat too much as some foods contain well more than the daily recommended amount, and in some cases like beef liver, contain more than the upper limit.

Food Name

Serving Size

Micrograms of Vitamin A

Beef liver

3 ounces

6,582 mcg

Cod liver oil

1 tablespoon

4,080 mcg

Sweet potato

1 whole

1,403 mcg


1/2 cup

459 mcg

Black-eyed peas

1 cup

66 mcg


1/2 cup

573 mcg


1/2 cup

60 mcg

Sweet red pepper

1/2 cup

117 mcg


1 whole

112 mcg


1/2 cup

135 mcg

And now you know how vitamin A impacts hair growth and hair loss, how much your body needs based on your stage in life, the types of vitamin A, and foods to add to you diet.  If you found this guide helpful, subscribe to our blog below for more.

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